On my first journey in the seminar I found that I had an imperfect idea about my heart being a source of pain. For our second journey we were told to ask our spirit guides where this problem began for us individually and if there was a connection through our physical ancestors.

Journey: Again I went into darkness rather than a specific place like the Lower World. I met my young teacher again and posed the question to him. He confirmed my suspicions that, for me, it began when my mother died. I was six and her death was unexpected and turned my world upside down. Because of the fact that I did not know or learn how to grieve, my sadness was always just under the surface of my life, waiting to be opened again and covered over as quickly as possible. Unfortunately this meant that the wounds were reopened every time I lost a family relative, and every time I attended a funeral or wake, regardless of whether I knew the dead person or not. The fact that I am an emotional person to begin with made such occurrences more difficult.

My teacher said that there was also another, ancestral aspect to the issue. My grandpa McAllister, and my grandpa and grandma Bergstrom left their homes in Ireland and Sweden to come to the United States around 1900. All three came because of limited opportunities and religion-oriented issues in their homelands. As a child I don’t remember my family making a big deal out of this. Maybe they knew so many people whose parents did the same thing that they took it for granted.

Back in 1900, when people left their homeland to come to America, they knew they would never return. This meant they were leaving their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends forever. They might exchange letters but they would never talk to them nor see them again as long as they lived. It was as though all these relatives were dead. How sad that must have been for all those brave emigrants. It brings to mind the Irish song “Oh Danny Boy”. The song is about a young man leaving Ireland and returning some day to visit the graves of his relatives. It’s one of the saddest laments I have ever heard.

Society needs (I need) a ritual which focuses on accepting the passing of our loved ones in such a way that it allows us (me) to release our emotions, and with them, the pain and sadness incurred with our losses. Our modern wakes and funerals aren’t helpful enough. We need something more.